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Patrick Gaspard speaks onstage at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Photo: Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images

Patrick Gaspard, who served as ambassador to South Africa under President Barack Obama, is stepping down as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, fueling speculation that he'll join the Biden administration, potentially as Labor secretary.

What to know: Before his stint as ambassador, Gaspard was Obama's political director in the White House, drawing upon his experience in the labor movement to advance Obama's legislative agenda on health care and financial services reform.

  • As the head of OSF, Gaspard straddles a broad network of progressive groups, with an annual budget of $1.2 billion.
  • Gaspard will be replaced by Mark Mallock Brown, a British former UN diplomat and member of OSF's board.

What they're saying: "I write to share with you that I will leave Open Society at the end of the year," Gaspard wrote to colleagues. "After four profound years of service to this extraordinary institution, and at a critical juncture for the democracy that is my home, I am compelled to charge once more unto the breech in a new political moment."

The big picture: Soros, a Hungarian-born billionaire who survived the Holocaust, has long been a lightning rod and target of conspiracy theories for some conservative groups, who have accused him of funding Black Lives Matters protestors and migration caravans.

  • Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani recently questioned Soros's Jewish identity, saying that Soros is “the last person in the world who can claim victimization as being Jewish,” according to Haaretz.

Go deeper

Bernie Sanders: U.S. must recognize that "Palestinian rights matter"

Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

The United States must encourage an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and adopt an "evenhanded approach" that recognizes Palestinians and Israelis have a right to "live in peace and security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote in a New York Times opinion on Friday.

Driving the news: Violence escalated this week after Israelis intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Hamas fired rockets and Israel massed troops, leaving more than 125 Palestinians and seven people in Israel dead.

4 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: Uber makes new hire, launches anti-racism campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Eager to show progress on the pledge to make its platform and business anti-racist, Uber on Friday announced new anti-racism driver and rider campaigns, as well as fresh internal hiring practices, Axios was first to report.

Why it matters: Uber is one of the biggest ride hailing companies in the world. Its decisions impact the millions that use the platform, where drivers and riders alike say they have experienced racism.